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Meal schedule questions

Mary P

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#1
We lived in Spain for a couple of years and got used to the meal/snack schedule - desayuno -light breakfast, almuerzo-lunch around 11, comida-main meal at 2-3, merienda-snack (dinner for little kids) at 5-6, cena-supper at 9-10. In all the reading here that I have done, it seems that people are eating their big meal at night? Could that be so? When people speak of lunch and dinner on the threads, what do they mean? When do people eat their last meal, and what kind do the albergues or hostels serve? Do people stop at 1-2 to eat the main meal, and stay stopped? Or do they rest for 2-3 hours and then continue on? Or do they just eat a light lunch and then walk on to a main meal later in the day than the Spanish would do? Thanks for responding!
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#2
The pattern has changed on the Caminos in recent years. Especially on the Camino Frances. Most people these days end their days walking quite early - in time for a late menu del dia at regular Spanish hours. Few walk after that. I think mostly because pressure for beds makes it difficult to find beds later in the day unless reserved. Most albergues have a curfew around 10pm so normal Spanish dinner hours do not fit in well. Those albergues which provide meals will serve them earlier in the evening. The alternative is a recent invention - the menu peregrino. A fairly low cost limited menu served at earlier hours than traditional Spanish evening meals. Usually filling enough but the range and quality of food offered can be disappointing.
 

november_moon

Veteran Member
#4
People have all sorts of different ways of handling meals on the Camino, but because the Camino schedule doesn't mesh well with typical Spanish meal times, pilgrims don't necesarily conform to them. As mentioned, lights out at albergues is generally at 10pm and lights on is about 6am.

For us, breakfast was usually fruit and nuts, maybe some cured meat and cheese that we had with us. Then 2nd breakfast after walking an hour or 2 was something more substancial with coffee. Depending on the day, we might stop again for a bocadilla or something and then walk on, or maybe just have more snacks on the trail, or just wait until we were done walking for the day and eat something more substancial around 2 or 3. Just depended on how far we were going that day, how hungry we were, and what was available. Some days though, there wasn't much civilization to walk through, so we made sure we got a good breakfast first thing and had a packed lunch for the trail.

We typically had our biggest meal in the evning because that was the best time to socialize - sometime around 6 or 7 - communal meals in albergues, out with friends to a local restaurant, or cooking together at the albergue.
 

MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
Nov 2018: Kumano Kodo (partial)
Jul 2019: San Miniato to Bolsena
#5
I liked stopping for a proper meal around 1 & then walking on, bit there were very few of us who did that. I almost always found that the lunch time menus were higher quality, and often less expensive, than the evening peregrino menus.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#6
We lived in Spain for a couple of years and got used to the meal/snack schedule - desayuno -light breakfast, almuerzo-lunch around 11, comida-main meal at 2-3, merienda-snack (dinner for little kids) at 5-6, cena-supper at 9-10. In all the reading here that I have done, it seems that people are eating their big meal at night? Could that be so? When people speak of lunch and dinner on the threads, what do they mean? When do people eat their last meal, and what kind do the albergues or hostels serve? Do people stop at 1-2 to eat the main meal, and stay stopped? Or do they rest for 2-3 hours and then continue on? Or do they just eat a light lunch and then walk on to a main meal later in the day than the Spanish would do? Thanks for responding!
When you are walking eat a decent breakfast if you can. Then just listen to your body. Eat when it tells you to. Rest when it tells you too and walk when it tells you to. Bring some food in your pack. Lots of water.
Keep drinking water. If you are not walking the Camino Frances check to see how far it is between places you can find food. Sometimes it can be a very long distance. In France there were days that nothing was available until I got to a Gite. For dinner the size of the town and available restaurants and of course your buds will dictate your dinner selections.
 

Mary P

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#7
I liked stopping for a proper meal around 1 & then walking on, bit there were very few of us who did that. I almost always found that the lunch time menus were higher quality, and often less expensive, than the evening peregrino menus.
Interesting, and comports with the Spain I know.
 

MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
Nov 2018: Kumano Kodo (partial)
Jul 2019: San Miniato to Bolsena
#9
Also wondering if walking on after comida means you have less chance of a bed somewhere.
This wasn’t an issue in October. Though sometimes I would call ahead to make sure a place had a bed, especially if I was aiming for a small town with fewer options.

For dinner, try and find albergues that have communal meals. Those were also generally far better, and more fun, than the pilgrim meals.
 
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#10
Listening to your body is important. For me, walking after a large meal just doesn't work. My stomach doesn't feel right, my body is lethargic - and I never do well walking a longer distance after I've had anything alcoholic to drink. So I kept it light while walking and then eat more when we got where we were going for the day, and definitely save the beer and wine until then.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salv-Primitivo
#11
In all the reading here that I have done, it seems that people are eating their big meal at night? Could that be so?
Hi Mary
On the Camino Francés you can do just about anything. The eating establishments have adjusted to the pilgrims’ wants and needs (not the other way around).

On the more solitary caminos you cannot get a meal of any kind between about 3.30pm and 8.30pm.

If I eat a Menu del Peregrino (available from 7pm), and then have to be in bed by 10pm (when the rest of Spain has just gone out for the evening!), I cannot get to sleep because my stomach is still so full.

So I prefer to do what the Spanish do (when in Rome . . . ) and have the Menu del Dia between 1pm and 3pm. It’s also much better quality that the pilgrim’s menu, which is mostly carbohydrates to fill you up. I also take a looooooooooong time over it.

I then like to walk for another hour or two, from about 4pm to 6pm. It’s the best time to walk, as there is nobody else out there! If worried about beds, then phone ahead while you are having lunch (and let them know you will be late).

By the time I’ve showered and sorted myself out it’s about 8pm and time to go out for a vino tinto and some tapas.

Jill
 
Camino(s) past & future
We are planning to do the Camino Portuguese in May!!
#12
We lived in Spain for a couple of years and got used to the meal/snack schedule - desayuno -light breakfast, almuerzo-lunch around 11, comida-main meal at 2-3, merienda-snack (dinner for little kids) at 5-6, cena-supper at 9-10. In all the reading here that I have done, it seems that people are eating their big meal at night? Could that be so? When people speak of lunch and dinner on the threads, what do they mean? When do people eat their last meal, and what kind do the albergues or hostels serve? Do people stop at 1-2 to eat the main meal, and stay stopped? Or do they rest for 2-3 hours and then continue on? Or do they just eat a light lunch and then walk on to a main meal later in the day than the Spanish would do? Thanks for responding!
We ate our main meal at midday. We were too tired to wait til 7 or 8 at night to eat! We were heading to dreamland!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Walked from Pamplona to Los Arcos, Planning to continue from Los Arcos
#13
We lived in Spain for a couple of years and got used to the meal/snack schedule - desayuno -light breakfast, almuerzo-lunch around 11, comida-main meal at 2-3, merienda-snack (dinner for little kids) at 5-6, cena-supper at 9-10. In all the reading here that I have done, it seems that people are eating their big meal at night? Could that be so? When people speak of lunch and dinner on the threads, what do they mean? When do people eat their last meal, and what kind do the albergues or hostels serve? Do people stop at 1-2 to eat the main meal, and stay stopped? Or do they rest for 2-3 hours and then continue on? Or do they just eat a light lunch and then walk on to a main meal later in the day than the Spanish would do? Thanks for responding!
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#14
The pattern has changed on the Caminos in recent years. Especially on the Camino Frances. Most people these days end their days walking quite early - in time for a late menu del dia at regular Spanish hours. Few walk after that. I think mostly because pressure for beds makes it difficult to find beds later in the day unless reserved. Most albergues have a curfew around 10pm so normal Spanish dinner hours do not fit in well. Those albergues which provide meals will serve them earlier in the evening. The alternative is a recent invention - the menu peregrino. A fairly low cost limited menu served at earlier hours than traditional Spanish evening meals. Usually filling enough but the range and quality of food offered can be disappointing.
This worked for me. I walked early to avoid the heat of the day. Arrived in the early afternoon, usually around 2pm-ish. Cleaned up, did washing and sat down to enjoy a main meal in the afternoon, a nice long relaxed menu del dia.
I don't like walking on a full stomach, nor going to sleep on a full stomach, so a couple of smallish 'breakfasts' during the morning, and then the afternoon dinner worked really well, and the food offered was really good.
This timing works well for me, with getting out of the sun, getting my washing dry, and I really look forward to my dinner in the last few hours of walking. I am also a morning person, waiting till late in the evening would have me falling asleep in my plate.
 

MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
Nov 2018: Kumano Kodo (partial)
Jul 2019: San Miniato to Bolsena
#15
Listening to your body is important. For me, walking after a large meal just doesn't work. My stomach doesn't feel right, my body is lethargic - and I never do well walking a longer distance after I've had anything alcoholic to drink. So I kept it light while walking and then eat more when we got where we were going for the day, and definitely save the beer and wine until then.
I found that I was extremely lethargic for about the first fifteen or twenty minutes, but that I would have significantly more energy later in the day. If I ate lightly during the day I’d often be exhausted by the time I got to the albergue. It was trial and error learning this - like everything the first time.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Sarria to Santiago) - 2014
#16
I found that I was extremely lethargic for about the first fifteen or twenty minutes, but that I would have significantly more energy later in the day. If I ate lightly during the day I’d often be exhausted by the time I got to the albergue. It was trial and error learning this - like everything the first time.
Did you ever bring food along with you (like a picnic of sorts) if the towns were far apart from each other?
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#17
Did you ever bring food along with you (like a picnic of sorts) if the towns were far apart from each other?
Sometimes we might have the odd snack with us, plus I tended to buy a baguette if I saw it fresh, and maybe a peach, some salami or something. We had a couple of very memorable occasions of shared picnics with strangers we just met. We discovered the village shop was shut, so we all sat around the tables outside, and had a shared snack of whatever we were all carrying. It was great. We had two impromptu picnics like this, they were completely unplanned.
 

MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
Nov 2018: Kumano Kodo (partial)
Jul 2019: San Miniato to Bolsena
#18
Did you ever bring food along with you (like a picnic of sorts) if the towns were far apart from each other?
I walkd for 77 days - I did every combination you can think of. I always had a bag of potato chips on me - and I never buy them at home. They were so good on the trail. An apple and cheese were the perfect snacks. Unless I found pizza at the bakery - that was an even better snack. In France I learned to carry an emergency tin or two of pâté, and a can of cola, but I don’t recall needing an emergency stash in Spain. I had mixed results with sausages, probably because I dont know much about Spanish sausages and don’t speak Spanish well but would still try to speak it with shopkeepers. I ended up carrying some that were too greasy for the trail, and one that might have been uncooked.
Picninc days were basic: a baguette, and some meat or cheese.
A few Germans and Swiss I met would also carry beer. That was impressive. I never saw any other groups do that.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#19
...
A few Germans and Swiss I met would also carry beer. That was impressive. I never saw any other groups do that.
:D
For a true beer lover that's not a problem compared with the sheer pleasure of drinking it in the middle of nowhere. The problem is how to keep it reasonably cool. ;)
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
#20
Did you ever bring food along with you (like a picnic of sorts) if the towns were far apart from each other?
I was walking with a teenage son. I *always* brought food with me. We didn't always eat it but I wanted it there for "insurance". I'm not sure I would recommend that for others, though, since it adds to the weight of the backpack.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#21
I have only walked the Camino Frances so do not know about other paths. We too, when we first awaken, eat something lite, and not usually at the breakfast table. We make coffee/tee in our room, eat yogurt with fruit, nuts and granola and maybe juice too...and then we are off early! In the early fall we will be out by 5:30am. We stop between 8-9 am for a second breakfast. Eggs, toast, bacon, depending on how hungry we are. Usually we stop by 2pm and eat our main meal. Later, we stop in a grocery store when they reopen and get a lite snack for the night and what we need for the next morning. We rarely eat out at night! Night snack is usually raw vegetables..peppers, tomatoes, olives, onions, carrots, etc. Once in a while we get some Jamon, and always dessert...mostly fruits...(oranges, lemons, strawberries and bananas). In the evening we focus on fruits and vegetables because it is often lacking in the meals during the day.
Not every town on the Frances offers meals between lunch and dinner.
 
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